[email protected] 400 LED Lighting Modification

jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 70Member
edited September 25 in Modifications & Upgrades
Having found the LED lighting in our 2019 [email protected] 400 to be too harsh too cool in terms of color temperature, I decided to experiment with using lighting gels to tone things down and warm up the color temperature a bit.

Since I've seen this topic raised before, I thought it might be helpful to document the process and provide some details and photos of the modifications. A PDF is attached.

Jim 

[Moderator Note: Post updated to include attached .pdf. Thanks, @jameskuzman!]

Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package

Comments

  • ecstaticecstatic Posts: 42Member
    Nice write up, thanks for documenting the details of your mod.  Any pictures of the inside after?
    2020 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite    2019 Silverado 5.3L V8
  • jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 70Member
    ecstatic said:
    Any pictures of the inside after?
    Good idea, @ecstatic - I'll take some this evening and post them. 
    Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package
  • jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 70Member
    @ecstatic

    Here is the table with just the single dinette fixture turned on: 



    Here is the table with just the accent lights on: 



    The sink with just the under-cabinet sink lights on: 



    The counter and bed area with the ceiling light on low, and both the under-cabinet sink lights and the bed accent lights turned on: 



    The bed with just those accent lights turned on:



    And finally the bath with the accent lights on and ceiling light off; guess I could have removed the TP before I took it!: 



    Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package
  • ecstaticecstatic Posts: 42Member
    Wow, that looks very homey! I usually can't stand cool lights at home, but for some reason I don't mind them in the 400.  After seeing your pictures I might have to try this though, looks so much more....residential :-D.
    2020 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite    2019 Silverado 5.3L V8
  • jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 70Member
    ecstatic said:
    After seeing your pictures I might have to try this though, looks so much more....residential :-D.
    It does reduce the overall light output somewhat, so doing the whole camper might make things too dark for some folks. Likewise, the 3/4 CTO gel I used might be too warm and the 1/2 CTO might be more to your liking. I would suggest starting with an easy fixture like the dinette light, the reading lamps on the headboard, on the or just temporarily slipping a piece of gel into the ceiling fixture first as an experiment. It's a relatively low-cost mod, so there's little to lose by getting a sheet of each and playing around to find out what works for you. 
    Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package
  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 107Member
    Really nice.  I see a new project in the near future!
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 70Member
    edited September 27
    gspdx said:
    Really nice.  I see a new project in the near future!
    Thanks, @gspdx. I'm fairly confident about everything except the long-term durability of the "self sticky" method of attaching the gels to the rope light strips that aren't in the U-channel tracks. I'm concerned the rigors of towing and temperature variations might be too much and I may have to re-examine my approach. Time will tell! 
    Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package
  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 107Member
    @jameskuzman ; It's still a great idea.  Like you said it might need a little modification on the rope lights.  But even at that its a much cheaper option than trying to replace all of the lighting with something else.  And since my wife does not like the really bright white lights (putting it mildly) that is something we had discussed.  

    So this is worth trying for 20 bucks and a Saturday afternoon.  And maybe a beer.
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 107Member
    Got the gels today.  Thought I ordered the 3411 but it was 3407.  Spent a little over an hour covering the lights I wanted.  Left the bathroom, wardrobe and sink lights alone.  Put 2 layers on the table light.  Love it.
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • TabberJohnTabberJohn Posts: 477Member
    Is there a simple chart online that shows the range of filters with their before/after effect and Kelvin range?
    2015 [email protected] Max S (White/Silver) -> 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L (turbo, AWD, factory tow)
  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 107Member
    @jameskuzman By the way-your instructions are excellent.

    As far as a chart I didn't check.  I did see in some of the descriptions that they would take a 5000 and change to 2900 or something like that.  
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 983Member
    edited October 3
    Here is one simple chart.

    Gels that create yellow/orange light are known as CTO gels (Color Temperature Orange). These gels are available in various strengths as follows:

    • 1/8 CTO Converts 5500°K to 4900°K
    • 1/4 CTO Converts 5500°K to 4500°K
    • 1/2 CTO Converts 5500°K to 3800°K
    • 3/4 CTO Converts 5500°K to 3200°K
    • Full CTO Converts 5500°K to 2900°K
    I'm going to guess the color temp (kelvin) of the installed LED's are  "about"  5500k.  What most of us want is the "warmer" light of the good old incandescent light bulb, which is down around 3200k to 2900k.  Everyone will "see" this differently, and some of my friends can't see the harshness of light bulbs at all until I change their's out.  Some people are more sensitive to light "color" than others.  Mr. Kuzman points this out in one of his posts above.  And, don't get me started on Color Rendering Index.
    Another sample of color temps:  there are many examples of this on the web.


    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • TabberJohnTabberJohn Posts: 477Member
    Thanks @pthomas745 - very informative.
    I am constantly disappointed by lights and bulbs I have bought online as "warm white" that aren't even close when you install them.
    2015 [email protected] Max S (White/Silver) -> 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L (turbo, AWD, factory tow)
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 983Member
    edited October 3
    I looked over James's .pdf closely and he made the same points I made in my post.  The "appearance" of a light bulb is very subjective.
    I buy bulbs that tell me two things:  one is the actual "kelvin" temperature the bulb is designed for.  Telling me "warm white" means nothing.  2700k tells me where it falls on the "warm white" scale.
    The other number is color rendering index.  I will no longer buy any LED bulb that does not state the CRI, and that number should be 90+.  Most of the LED's on the market have a CRI of 80 or so.  You might be getting a perfectly nice 2700k "warm" bulb, but the color spectrum coming from that bulb might be all over the place, giving the light a poor appearance in your living space.
    I've had great performance from the Feit  bulbs in many different applications.  Note they put the 90CRI in the headline.




    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 214Member
    Is there a simple chart online that shows the range of filters with their before/after effect and Kelvin range?
    On the B&H Photo website, there is an image among the photos for the product that shows you the conversions.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • b407driverb407driver Posts: 88Member
    As a photographer who works out of the trailer, I love the stock, relatively daylight-balanced LEDs in the 400. I do wish they had dimmers, but now I'm getting picky. :)
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Lite w/solar, TV is 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD
    Jeff --Front Range of Colorado
  • gspdxgspdx Posts: 107Member
    @b407driver ; Hey - you are allowed to be picky.  If you weren't you might have a Jayco.
    2019 [email protected] 400 BDL
    2018 Ford F-150 2.7L Ecoboost with tow package
    PNW
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 214Member
    I’ve done the lighting modification now on the indirect LEDs and it turned out great! Still trying to figure out the little cubby by the door since there is no track to work with. Also did the overhead light over the table, but leaving the rest as is for brighter task lighting. 
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 70Member
    @TNOutback - glad it turned out well! That little cubby by the door was easily the most frustrating section to work with to a degree because you can't see what you're doing, but primarily because those lights are not in a track. It's also the area in which I have the least amount of confidence in terms of long term durability. If it turns out it isn't holding up well long term, I'm going to revisit that area. 
    Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package
  • jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 70Member
    I do wish they had dimmers, but now I'm getting picky. :)
    I'm with you 100% - I love dimmers. I have no idea whether any/all of the fixtures in the 400 are dimmable (some LEDs are, some aren't) but I'm totally with you in spirit! 
    Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package
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